By Etan Butler Founder of Dalmore Group
Promoting and marketing your Reg A+ or Reg CF is a critical part of your capital-raise campaign. As with all marketing efforts, the challenges of sticking out in a large crowd present unique opportunities that can be exploited in your favor depending on how you go about it.
We’d like to approach these challenges/opportunities from a more granular perspective, one that often goes overlooked: leveraging your customer base by converting them into brand advocates.
If your customers aren’t advocating your brand, then you’re missing out, big time
Nobody knows your services better than your customers. If your customers are truly satisfied with your services, and if they find your services to be unique, truly one of a kind, then there’s the likelihood they may spread the word to other prospective customers, either personally or via social media.
When it comes to seeking investors for a Reg A+ or Reg CF campaign, your customer base is perhaps your best starting point, not only because they know who you are and what you offer, but also because they have the opportunity to participate in your company’s potential future growth.. Hopefully you can see how brand advocacy can easily transition into a much larger and organic marketing push.
Bur brand advocacy isn’t something that you passively wait for to emerge on its own. You don’t want to sit there and wait for the ripening fruit to fall from the tree, so to speak. You’ve got to climb up and pick it. In other words, you have to actively leverage your customer base to make it happen.
This part is easier said than done. So, what are a few hacks that you can use to get the ball rolling?
1 - Respect the “Handshake Moment”
When your company is self-hosting your own equity crowdfunding campaign, what your investors see upon first laying their eyes on your offering is a potential “handshake moment.” This is even true of your loyal customers as you’re offering not only goods and services but a unique opportunity to make an investment.
As a general rule-of-thumb, keep in mind that your prospective investors want to know “who you are” first before they consider investing in your Reg A+ or Reg CF shares. There are plenty of other companies presenting crowdfunding opportunities. The risk-to-reward may be greater or lesser. How you present your offering may be the factor that compels an investor to consider what you are offering.
2 - Service Provider or Industry Leader?
Service providers have customers. Industry leaders have fans, followers, and brand advocates. In addition to having a steady stream of customers purchasing your goods and services, to what extent do they visit your website to seek relevant information, insights, or advice?
Generally speaking, companies that have built a loyal following by elevating their services to industry leader status are likely to experience greater success in equity crowdfunding than those who haven’t.
3 - Your Online Presence is Critical in a Capital-Raise
One of the benefits of Reg A+ and Reg CF is that you’re able to market your shares to just about anyone, from retail investors with a modest amount of capital to accredited investors with large capital resources. Given the wide capacity you have in promoting your shares, it helps to have a wide promotional reach.
Working to expand your online presence is critical when launching a capital-raise campaign. After all, you can’t expect people to just stumble on your website as your primary means of promotion. Having a strong presence in at least one channel—whether it's through social media, a blog, vlog, podcast, or newsletter—can significantly raise your odds of success when promoting your Reg A+ or CF shares. It also makes it easier for your customers to share content about your company.
4 - Identify and Market to Your Investing Audience
Do you have a profile of your ideal investor? If not, do you have a profile of your customers or followers who are likely to become your investors? If you can understand your potential investors from a demographic point of view or even hobbies—then you can figure out how best to craft the marketing segment of your capital-raise campaign.
When presenting your company to prospective investors, a “one-size-fits-all” strategy may not always yield the most promising results. Again, Reg A+ and CF allow you to reach a wide range of investors. This benefit can also add the burden of “speaking” to a very diverse range of investors, from a young Gen Z professional who just got out of college to an established and successful Boomer looking to diversify his or her portfolio. You may find it necessary to create separate marketing campaigns for the same crowdfunding campaign just so you can speak to your audience in the most meaningful way.
5 - Work with a Broker-Dealer Who Can Match You with the Right Marketing Firm
Some companies are still in the beginning stages of building a large customer or follower base. If your company is among them, then you might want to consider working with a marketing firm. But here’s where you have to be careful: not all firms have experience working in your industry. If you happen to find one that does, wouldn’t it still be helpful to have a few more options from which to choose?
There are a few broker-dealers who have worked extensively with numerous marketing firms promoting Reg A+ and Reg CF campaigns. Some of these broker-dealers, like the Dalmore Group, know which firms have worked most effectively in specific industries or for specific types of capital-raises. Your campaign launch is nothing short of a potential milestone event for your business. If you need a marketing firm that has plenty of experience helping launch capital-raise campaigns in your specific industry, it helps to work with a broker-dealer who can introduce you to the firm that may best suit your marketing needs.
The Bottom Line
Leveraging your customers ahead of a Reg A+ or Reg CF launch is one of the smartest and most prudent things to do. After all, they know your company best. Yet given the wide range of flexibility that both exemptions offer, you’ll eventually have to go well beyond that first step. Establishing your business as an industry leader and developing a wide range of promotion and access is key to converting customers and followers into brand advocates and investors.
If you have any questions regarding the capital-raise process, or how to position your crowdfunding campaign in the most effective and cost-efficient way, feel free to contact the Dalmore Group.